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Fasting Day 3: Emptying Yourself of Pride

Fasting Day 3: Emptying Yourself of Pride

Fasting can be helpful to us in the process of being sanctified—the process of walking out our holiness with the help of the Spirit.

How so? In The Primary Purpose of Fasting, we saw that the basic purpose of fasting is self-humbling.

“I humbled myself with fasting…” (Psalm 35:13).

In God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis writes,

“If humility is the basic ingredient of true holiness, the soil in which the graces flourish, is it not needful that from time to time we should, like David, humble our souls with fasting?” [i]

To humble ourselves before God means that we bend the knee of our heart before Him, yielding our will to His, subjecting ourselves to His authority.

Rightly practiced, fasting brings both soul and body into subjection to the Holy Spirit.

Old Bedfellows

Pride is the opposite of humility. Pride means to be lofty, to exalt, to make higher. Pride causes us to exalt our will and our way above God’s. It causes us to want to be our own god and futilely attempt to govern our own lives.

Pride and a full stomach are old companions. In Fasting Day 2: Dethroning King Stomach, we saw that the sin of Sodom wasn’t primarily homosexuality.

“This was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness …” (Ezekiel 16:40).

God foresaw that pride and a full stomach would be one of Israel’s downfalls when they entered the promised land. “God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you,” Moses reminded the people. “He humbled you and let you hunger” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, ESV).

Those days of forced humbling were over and the land of abundance that they were about to posses would present new temptations. So Moses continued to warn the people, “Take care … lest, when you have eaten and are full … then your heart be lifted up” (vs. 11-14). According to Hosea, this is exactly what happened, in spite of the warning.

But when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me” (Hosea 13:6).

From this we see that fasting and prayer can correct pride. Fasting is a discipline that tends to humble our soul. Ezra later led returning Jews in a fast in order to humble themselves before God (see also Fasting Day 13: The Ezra Fast.)

“There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God” (Ezra 8:21).

So we see that fasting is a scriptural way to humble ourselves before God and to empty ourselves of pride.

Pride

Pride is detestable to God.

  • “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech” (Proverbs 8:13).
  • “The arrogant cannot stand in your presence” (Psalm 5:5).

We tend to dismiss pride as a light case of vanity — a mere irritation to others, but not a major offense to God. This is what Satan would have us believe.  He’d love for us to buy the lie that the very sin that was his downfall is harmless to us today.

Pride:

1. Takes captive.

“If you do not listen I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the LORD’S flock will be taken captive” (Jeremiah 13:17).

2. Deceives.

“The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you” (Jeremiah 49:16).

3. Corrupts and makes us vulnerable to Satan’s bribes.

“Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart…patience is better than pride.” (Ecclesiastes 7:7-8) .

4. Cheats of a walk worthy of our calling.

“As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble…” (Ephesians 4:1-2a).

Pride is more than a minor irritation. It costs us dearly. But if you are fasting, you are already combating pride! With David, you can say, “I humbled myself with fasting” (Psalm 35:13).

Because self-humbling is the primary purpose of fasting, it is worth taking these initial days of fasting to focus on the sin of pride in our personal prayer time. I encourage you to lookup the instances where “pride,” “humble,” and “humility” appear in the Bible. This can easily be done with an exhaustive concordance or with an online word search. (Two websites where an online search can be performed are: www.crosswalk.com and www.biblegateway.com).

Remember, the Word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). Doing such a study will not be mere busywork. There is power in these passages. Yes your mind will be greatly impacted and renewed as you see the atrocities of pride and the glories of humility, but your spirit will be affected by the power intrinsic to the Word of God.

God Hears Your Heart’s Cry

Beloved, if you’re fasting these twenty-one days, then your heart’s cry is to be made humble, to be purified and to be made holy. God hears your cry! He heard it from the moment you began your fast.

A man on Twitter replied last week to a tweet of mine about fasting. He said, Natalie, “there’s nothing fast about fasting.” I replied back saying that fasting isn’t easy, but the results supercede and far outlast any temporary discomfort. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that the Holy Spirit gave me the most appropriate reply. “What is fast about fasting?” I asked him.” God notices quickly when people begin to fast and pray. It gets His attention fast!”

That’s true for you today. The moment you began to fast and pray, you got God’s attention.

“This is the one I esteem: He who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” ( Isaiah 66:2).

“God searches all the earth to find people that have given themselves completely over to him because he wants to make them strong” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Daniel’s twenty-one day fast is recorded in Daniel chapter twelve. The angel that was sent in response to Daniel’s fasting and prayer spoke an incredible word to Daniel. Clearly, God had heard his heart cry!

“You who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you … Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them” (Daniel 10:11-12).

Sample Prayer

(Modified from Journey Into Fullness by James Mahoney) [2]

I apply the slaying efficacy of Calvary’s cross to my pride, becoming dead to it:

(1) With Yieldedness. “Lord, I commit myself to act as you direct, in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, throughout this day. I will do as you lead, one impulse at a time.

(2) By Reckoning. “Lord, I reckon myself dead to the sin of pride and I believe I will become nonresponsive to it.”

(3) Through the Spirit. “Holy Spirit, I trust you to carry out the execution.”

(4) From the Heart. “I am mentally prepared for withdrawal pains, emotionally motivated by love for you, willfully resisting with all my might!”

I renounce pride and embrace humility. I renounce vain ambition, criticism, conceit, disobedience, fear, feeling sorry for myself, resenting correction, stubbornness, demanding my own way and seeking recognition.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up”
(James 4:10).

Question: What result of humbling yourself before God are you most looking forward to?

 

FROM THE ARCHIVES


[i] Arthur Wallis, God’s Chosen Fast (Fort Washington, PA: CLC Publications, 1968), 44

[2] James Mahoney, Journey Into Fullness (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1974), 145

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